Francesco Gurnari was born March 12, 1998, in Norwalk, Connecticut. He graduated from Norwalk High School high school in 2016, then attended Dean College, a private college in Franklin, Massachusetts, before pursuing his hairstyling license. Francesco went on to study at the Renasci Academy of Hair in Norwalk, the Nick Arrojo School for Hair, the Vidal Sassoon School, the Goldwell Master Colorist Program, and Bumble & Bumble University of Hair Design. He currently works as a hair stylist at Artistic Image Salon.
These days, Francesco Gurnari remains in Norwalk. When not working, he enjoys participating in a wide variety of sports, including lacrosse and pickleball.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Hairstyling is something of a family business, so that’s how I started out. After high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for a career. But, as time went on, I kept going with hairstyling and I ended up really enjoying the business. I got pretty decent at it, too. Besides learning the craft itself, I learned how to talk to clients and I now enjoy conversing with them very much. It’s a fun job. I really enjoy going to work every day and doing what I do. I’m only going to get better from here.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Usually, I see several clients throughout the course of the day. If for some reason I don’t, I try to find ways to stay productive such as seeing what supplies need to be ordered for the salon, or taking care of whatever needs to be cleaned up.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I watch other people. There are people who are far more knowledgeable in the job than I am, so it pays great dividends to observe them and ask them for advice. It’s always nice to take pointers from my colleagues and make the ideas they relate to me come to life in a style that is my own.
What’s one trend that excites you?
These days, people are doing a lot of interesting things with haircuts and coloring. I’ve been doing a lot of coloring recently. In fact, I just applied a new technique—something that really caught my eye—to one of my clients, and we were both thrilled with the result.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I try to stay organized by writing things down and taking notes on my phone. I also take mental notes for certain routines. For me, staying organized is the key to remaining productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that working hard is the key to succeeding in life. I would emphasize always keeping that in mind, no matter the situation.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The idea of pineapple on pizza does not stir strong feelings in me one way or another. I’ll eat the pizza either way. I know that with a great many people it’s a very polarizing issue.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Pursue higher education, be it advanced classes or some sort of degree. It’s never a bad thing to increase your knowledge base while gaining accreditations at the same time. There is no downside to learning new things.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Innovation always interests people, no matter the industry, discipline, or field, so that’s what we always try to do down at the salon. My colleagues and I are always trying out new things. The clients love that. But it’s also important to be honest with the client and with yourself about the results.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I’ve experienced was messing up at work and not knowing how to cover it up or repair the damage. I overcame that issue simply by being honest with all those affected by my error. Explaining a mistake is difficult at first, but I’ve since gained the knowledge and experience to properly explain myself, and then address the error by working hard to fix it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Whatever industry or sector of the economy you operate in, be it hairstyling, manufacturing, real estate, or what-have-you, if someone is being nasty or negative, simply ‘kill them with kindness,’ as the saying goes. You’ll never improve a situation by engaging in negative behavior, and it will usually serve only to escalate any kind of conflict. Be honest, but be very kind in delivering that honesty.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just spent $100 on supplies for the salon today. The supplies were needed, and I know that’s money I’ll make back by using them during the course of our day-to-day business, so I feel pretty good about the purchase.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
YouTube is really great for self-education. I’ve learned a lot from the videos on that platform over the years. There’s also information on certain Facebook pages on hairstyles and coloring that my coworkers and I like to look at. In the end, it benefits the business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m not much of a reader, but a film I would recommend is Saving Private Ryan. It’s just a fantastic story. It really makes you think about the consequences of war, whether it is a justified war or not.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
- Pursuing higher education—or learning in general—is never a bad thing.
- It’s important to be honest after making a mistake.
- Innovation is key to growing a business because people are always interested in new things.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.